“How are we to reach a way of regulating this matter?”

Islamic Calendar

July 16, 622 marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. It is dated from the hejira, when Muhammad and his followers fled from Mecca to Medina, two hundred miles north because of a plan to assassinate him.

Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 A.D. He was an orphan raised by his uncle. At 25, Kjadija, a widow fifteen years older, employed him. The couple later married in a Christian ceremony. Muhammad often prayed in a cave. In 610 A.D., when he was forty, he received a vision commanding him to recite a message, which he proclaimed to be from Allah. The message was later codified into the Qur’an.

Soon Muhammad began to preach against idol worship and proclaimed Allah as the only true God. Many of his followers were ostracised and some fled to Abyssinia while Muhammad stayed in Mecca. In 619, Khadija and Muhammad’s uncle died and anti-Muslim persecution increased. On July 16, 622 Muhammad and his followers fled to Medina.

Muhammad mediated conflicts between Arabs, Jews, and Muslims. He became governor and established two principles of Islam: Islam is the source of temporal and spiritual authority and religion is the source of loyalty among men rather than tribe.

In 630, Muhammad and an army of 10,000 men conquered Mecca. Muhammad demanded loyalty from every citizen and removed idols from the city. Polytheism was forbidden, though he allowed “people of the book” – Jews and Christians – to continue worshiping. Muhammad died two years later. He had at least thirteen wives. A dispute arose about his successor. Some chose Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin, who are called Shi’ites, and others who followed Abu Bakr – Muhammad’s father-in-law, father of his wife Aisha – the was selected by the majority, who became Sunni.

In 639, Caliph Umar I created a lunar calendar which began on July 16, 622. The years were numbered A.H. for the Latin Anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hegira.” A little a millenium later, the Ottomans shifted from a lunar to a solar cycle, creating a second Hegira calendar with different dates.

The following equation is used to roughly convert between Islamic calendar year (AH) and its Gregorian (AD) equivalent:

AD = 622 + (32/33 x AH)

AH = 33/32 x (AD – 622)

From Sveriges Riksbank History

Paper Money

Historians generally agree that paper money first appeared in ninth–century China. In Europe, the first paper money was issued by Johan Palmstruch, founder of Stockholms Banco, Sweden’s first bank, on July 16, 1661.

In 1660, the government began to mint new coins, which were lighter. Many citizens wanted their older coins back, because they had higher metal value, leading to a run on the bank. To prevent this, Palmstruch began issuing deposit certificates, called credit notes (Kreditivsedlar), giving the owner the right to withdraw the deposited amount in coins. This meant that the bank no longer relied on having money to lend, but could use the certificates as loans, paying the value of the note in coins on demands.

The banknotes became popular for their convenience and the bank printed more notes. But this led to inflation – the notes decreased in value – and the public lost confidence. They demanded that their notes be redeemed but the bank did not have enough coins, so the bank closed and many customers had financial difficulties.

In 1664, the government, called Council of the Realm, decided that the loans would be repaid and the credit notes would be withdrawn. Palmstruch was summoned before the Svea Court of Appeal and was sentenced to death for mismanaging bank in 1668. He was reprieved but remained in prison until 1670 and died 1671.

Parking Meter

On July 16, 1935, the world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, was installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Carlton Cole “Carl” Magee, thought of the idea in 1932 to solve parking congestion. He had been a reporter for an Albuquerque newspaper and exposed the Teapot Dome Scandal and testified against Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall. Magee who was later arrested but acquitted for manslaughter in an altercation with a New Mexico judge. After quitting the Albuquerque newspaper, Magee came to Oklahoma City to start a newspaper, the Oklahoma News.

Like most major American cities in the 1920s and 1930s, Oklahoma City suffered from traffic congestion and lack of parking. By 1913, there were around three thousand cars in Oklahoma, which had climbed to five hundred thousand by 1930. Parking was especially difficult for retail customers as downtown workers took up the spaces all day. The city attempted to solve the problem by imposing time limits, with police chalking tires and issuing tickets on their hourly rounds. But the problem grew so bad, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce began to look into it, appointing Magee as the chair of the Traffic Committee.

Magree invented a small, cheap, mechanical device that could be wound to time each parking space. He filed a patent on December 21, 1932. To refine his invention, he collaborated with the Oklahoma State University Engineering Department. They sponsored a design competition, which ran from February 17 to May 6, 1933, offering $160 for the winner and $240 for a working model. Several students built models, but none were accepted. Professor H. G. Thuesen soon joined the projected, and with help from Gerald A. Hale, a former engineering student and 1927 OSU graduate, created a new model called “Black Maria.” By the end of the year, McGee, Thuesen, and Hale were looking for a manufacturer.

On July 16, 1935, 175 meters were installed and tested on fourteen blocks throughout the city. This proved successful and there were soon meters all over downtown. The parking meter not only solved the city’s parking problem, but generated revenue, and increased the value of downtown commercial property. The first parking meter that Magee’s company made, was donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1937. The patent was granted on May 24, 1938.

Thirty years later, parking meters were a central plot in Paul Newman’s 1967 film Cool Hand Luke in which Newman’s character Luke Jackson, was sent to a chain gang for drunkenly cutting the tops off several parking meters.

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“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times”

Three Supreme Court cases relating to LGBTQ rights were decided on June 26: Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, United States v. Windsor in 2013, and affirming Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.

On June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional and affirmed a right to privacy.

Police were called after a weapons disturbance was reported at a home in Houston, Texas. They entered John Lawrence’s apartment and reported seeing him and another man, Tyron Gardner in the bedroom engaged in sexual activity. They were arrested and charged under the “Homosexual Conduct,” which made it a Class C misdemeanor for “a person commits an offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.”

The Supreme Court overturned its decision in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), a similar case where Michael Hardwick was arrested by Georgia police for engaging in a consensual sex act. The Court had ruled that such laws “have ancient roots” and that “there was no constitutional protection for acts of sodomy, and that states could outlaw those practices.” In Lawrence, the Court ruled that the Texas statute “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.” A key factor in the decision was that, “the sexual acts happened inside a private residence, where the state and law enforcement had no right to dictate individual behavior in these deeply personal matters.”State v. Limon

The Court’s ruling was used in State v. Limon to amend Kansas’s “Romeo and Juliet” laws, which penalizes teens younger than 19 who engage in “voluntary sexual intercourse, sodomy or lewd touching with a teen between the ages of 14 and 16, provided the teens are of the opposite sex” but if the teens are of the same gender, they are penalized under the state’s criminal sodomy statute, which “prohibits sodomy with a child between 14 and 16 years of age, without regard to consent, the offender’s age, or the gender of the participants.” The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that, “the Romeo and Juliet law, which effectively mandates a substantially higher sentence for the same acts, based on whether the defendant is of the same sex as the victim, is a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution referenced in the Lawrence decision.”

Ten years later, on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional and violated the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, states that, under federal law, the words “marriage” and “spouse” refer to legal unions between one man and one woman. Edith Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer were married in Toronto, Canada in 2007.and their marriage was recognized under New York law. When Spyer died in 2009, Spyer left her estate to Windsor. But, as their marriage was not recognized by federal law, the government imposed a $363,000 tax. If the federal government had recognized the marriage, there would not have been any taxes imposed as the estate would have qualified for a marital exemption.

On November 9, 2010, Windsor filed suit in district court, to declare DOMA unconstitutional. When the suit was filed, the government stipulated that DOMA must be defended, but the President and the Attorney General declined to do so. The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives filed a petition to intervene and defend DOMA and also a motion to dismiss the case. The district court denied the motion and held DOMA unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court ruled that “states have the authority to define marital relationships and that DOMA goes against legislative and historical precedent by undermining that authority.” DOMA “denies same-sex couples the rights that come from federal recognition of marriage, which are available to other couples with legal marriages under state law.” Therefore, “the purpose and effect of DOMA is to impose a “disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma” on same-sex couples in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.”

Two years later, the Supreme Court would come to a different conclusion. In Obergefell v. Hodges, groups of same-sex couples in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee challenging the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage. The plaintiffs argued that the bans violated the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and in one case, the Civil Rights Act. In all cases, the trial court found for the plaintiffs, but the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed and held that the states’ bans did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, equal protection, and due process. The cases converged into Obergefell v. Hodges and went to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court considered three questions: 1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?; and 2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that was legally licensed and performed in another state? Citing cases such as Loving v. Virginia (1967), which overturned anti-miscegenation laws, the Court concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment the “Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right to marry as one of the fundamental liberties it protects, and that analysis applies to same-sex couples in the same manner as it does to opposite-sex couples.” Preventing same-sex couples from marrying also violates the Equal Protection Clause, but also ruled that the “First Amendment protects the rights of religious organizations to adhere to their principles, but it does not allow states to deny same-sex couples the right to marry on the same terms as those for opposite-sex couples.”

As with the Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia, where some states refused to comply and kept such laws on their books (Alabama became the last state to repeal its law in 2000), seven counties in Alabama refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, two years later. As of early 2019, those seven counties were still not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, prompting the Alabama legislature to abolish all marriage licenses and replacing them with affidavits.

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“History has reached a turning point, here and over the world”


Medgar Evers (July 2, 1925-June 12, 1963) was a civil rights activist, born in Decatur, Mississippi. He served in World War II from 1943 to 1945, fighting in Europe before being honorably discharged as a sergeant.

In 1951, he married Myrlie Beasley, a fellow student at the historically black Alcorn College (now Alcorn State University). After graduating in 1952, Evers became an insurance salesman. He later joined the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, his first experience as a civil rights organizer. He led the boycott against gas stations that refused to let blacks use their restrooms, and he and his older brother Charles organized local chapters on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Evers became the first NAACP Field Secretary in Mississippi in 1954. He investigated hate crimes against blacks. He filed lawsuits to end segregation beginning in 1954 when he applied to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Law School and was denied. His case was aided by the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and the university was integrated in 1962. Additionally, Evers registered black people to vote, organized boycotts and sit-ins, challenging segregated seating on uses and campaigned for better education for all children.

Evers made a 17-minute speech on WLBT on May 20, 1963, describing the black community’s desire for equality. Many Mississippians called in to protest Evers’ speech being broadcast and even threatened his life.

For his efforts, Evers was beaten, jailed and eventually assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi on June 12, 1963. President Kennedy had given his speech supporting civil rights only the day before. After Evers was assassinated, Kennedy to ask Congress to pass the Civil Rights Bill, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Many buildings – a post office, library, airport, and college – were named for him, as was a U.S. Navy humanitarian ship in 2011, the first vessel named for a civil rights activist. His widow Myrlie attended the christening in San Diego.

After decades of work, Myrlie Evers efforts paid off and on December 17, 19990, white supremacist Byron De la Beckwith, was as arrested for murdering Evers. The trial lasted two weeks, after which a jury of four whites and eight blacks found Beckwith guilty and in 1997, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the conviction.

Myrlie Evers later became the first woman to chair the NAACP Board of Directors and published her memoir Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be and established the Evers Collection and the Medgar Evers Institute. The collected papers are being preserved and cataloged at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

On May 25, 1999, the Jackson City Council unanimously declared July 4 as Medgar Wiley Evers Day and Mississippi senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott led a resolution that the U.S. Senate adopted, declaring June 9-16 Medgar Evers National Week of Remembrance.

The Evers’ home became a National Historic Landmark and museum in 2019. It was restored to its condition when the family lived there.


From South Africa History Online

Rolihlahla “Nelson” Mandela (July 18 1918 – December 5, 2013) was an anti-apartheid activist who fought against segregation in South Africa.

Mandela was a member of the Madiba clan, was born in the Eastern Cape. His father Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, was a principal counselor to Jongintaba Dalindyebo the Acting King of the Thembu people. After his father died in 1930, Mandela became Dalindyebo’s ward.

Mandela matriculated to the University College of Fort Hare but was expelled for joining student protests. He became more politically active and joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped to form the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). His activism eventually led the ANC to became more radical and adopt the Programme of Action, in 1949.

He was chosen as the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign in 1952. The Campaign joined with the ANC and the South African Indian Congress and began a civil disobedience campaign against apartheid. The Campaign began a mass resistance movement against apartheid, which like Jim Crow laws in the United States, separated whites and blacks, with separate entrances and laws such as the Population Regulation Act and pass laws. He and 19 others were charged under the Suppression of Communism Act and sentenced to nine months of hard labour, which was suspended for two years.

Mandela was arrested on December 5, 1956 as part of a nationwide raid, leading to the 1956 Treason Trial where 28, including Mandela were accused but acquitted on March 29, 1961. During this time, on March 21, 1960, police killed 69 unarmed protesters against the laws. As a result, the ANC and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) were banned. Mandela and his Treason Trial colleagues were among thousands detained.

A few days before the Treason Trial, Mandela spoke at the All-in Africa Conference, which resolved that he should write to Prime Minister Verwoerd requesting a national convention on a non-racial constitution, and to warn that if he did not agree there would be a national strike against South Africa becoming a republic. After he and his colleagues were acquitted, Mandela went underground and began planning a national strike from the 29th through the 31st of March.

In January 1962, using the name David Motsamayi, Mandela secretly left South Africa, traveling around Africa and visiting England to gain support for the struggle. He received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia and returned to South Africa in July 1962. He was arrested and charged with leaving the country without a permit and inciting workers to strike. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.

In October 1963, Mandela and 10 others went on trial for sabotage in what would become known as the Rivonia Trial. On June 12 the following year, Mandela and seven others were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

He was released from prison in 1990, nine days after the ban on the ANC and PAC were lifted. In 1993, he and President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize and on April 27, 1994 he voted for the first time.

On May 10, 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected President. He kept his promise of only serving one term. After he left office, he continued to work with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund he had set up in 1995 and established the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

He died at his home in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013.

Five years later, a collection of letters that Mandela sent from prison was published as The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela,” edited by South African journalist Sahm Venter. It featured 255 letters, of which roughly half had never been released to the public.

Loving v. VA

Getty Images

Loving v. Virginia

On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that all laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the Untied States were unconstitutional. Anti-miscegenation laws had been in effect for 103 years, since Maryland enacted the first law banning marriage between black men and white women in 1664. Interestingly, Japan enacted its law allowing interracial marriage in 1873.

The trial was held on April 10, 1967, and it took two months for the decision to be handed down. In addition to the two ACLU attorneys, Bernard Cohen and Philip Hirschkop, the Supreme Court granted William Marutani, a Japanese-American lawyer to speak on behalf of the Japanese-American Citizens League (JACL) which had filed an amicus brief in support. Marutani would marry a white Virginia woman in 1975.

I created a website for a class project on the history of anti-miscegenation laws using Peggy Pascoe’s What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America as a base, including links to various media, from books to songs. Please enjoy!

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“I was to be smuggled out of Shanghai on a fishing boat”

Julia Lin

Smith College International Advancement Blog

Julia Chang Lin (May 4, 1928-August 1, 2013) was born Ming-hui Tsang in Shanghai to Tsang Foh-Sing and Sung Zong-Cui in Shanghai, China. She grew up there and in Amoy, a small southern coastal town. Her mother Julia was a nurse, her father was an ophthalmologist educated at the University of Pennsylvania. One of his patients was

Madame Sun Yat-sen. Both of her grandmothers were doctors, long before women were allowed to have such professions.

She attended St. Mary’s Hall School for Girls and St. John’s University in Shanghai. On May 24, 1949, the day that the Communist troops marched into Shanghai, Chang received a telegram announcing her acceptance to Smith College and awarding her a scholarship. Her family’s housekeeper Liu Ma sewed the telegram and $20 into Julia’s clothes. Chang and her best friend Shirley Wang were smuggled out of the country in August on a fishing boat as the Nationalist government bombed the coast. She would not see her brothers for three decades and she would never see her father, grandmothers, or Liu Ma had died.

The pair went to the Zhoushan Islands, a group of small islands still occupied by the Nationalist government. They were detained there for several weeks before Chang arrived at Smith in October, 1949. While her godmother had hoped Chang would go into medicine, Chang discovered English literature and graduated with a BA in English in 1951.

She received her MA in English from the University of Washington in 1952 and entered the University of Washington for her Ph.D. in an emerging field, Chinese Language and Literature. Chang spoke several languages: Mandarin, Shanghainese, an Amoy dialect, English, Cantonese, French, Fukienese (her husband’s native tongue), and some Japanese. One of her professors Theodore Roethke, liked her poem, “Song of the Crazy Monk,” so much that he mailed it to Botteghe Oscure, a prominent literary journal, which became Chang’s first publication. Her Ph.D. thesis was published as Modern Chinese Poetry: An Introduction. Her publication was completely shortly after Nixon allowed Americans to visit China. Chang traveled to gather materials and became friends with many poets. Chang received her Ph.D. in 1965.

Chang met Henry Huan Lin, whose father Lin Chang-Min was a politician and calligrapher and helped establish the Chinese League of Nations. His stepsister Lin Huiyin, was considered the first female architect in China. The couple moved to Athens, Ohio in 1959. Lin taught English at Ohio University for thirty years and helped establish the Chinese language courses. She was the only member of the Asian Studies department, which introduced students to The Tale of Genji and Journey to the West. She wrote four books, bringing Chinese women poets to western audiences.

In 1999, she was one of 29 women honored by Smith College for “achievements representing the accomplishments of generations of Smith alumnae.” She was writing her auto-biography when she died in New York in 2013.

Her daughter Maya Lin, then a Yale student, deigned the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The design was chosen in a nationwide competition which had over 1,400 submissions. Maya Lin received an honorary degree from Smith in 1993 and was chosen to re-design Neilson, the college’s social sciences and humanities library. It also includes the Smith College Archives, the Mortimer Rare Book Room, and the Sophia Smith College, one of the world’s largest and most important women’s history archives.

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“Simply remembering what happened was an act of resistance.”

It is fitting that I post this entry on May 1, the beginning of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. Today’s Google Doodle commemorates Ruth Asawa who, along with her family, was sent the Santa Anita racetracks and the Rohwer concentration camp during World War II.

I began this blog on February 19, 2018, the 76th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized over 120,000 Japanese-Americans and others to be incarcerated, six weeks after Pearl Harbor. This included 5,918 children born in the assembly centers and camps, 1,118 people from Hawaii, and 219 non-Japanese (mostly husbands) who voluntarily accompanied their families.

On April 27, I attended the 50th Annual Pilgrimage to Manzanar, one of ten camps where between 110,000 and 120,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during World War II, and one of two in California.

I first heard about Mazanar when I took a course called “The Narratives of Internment” during my sophomore year at Smith College. We read poetry by Mitsuye YamadaJohn Okada‘s historical fiction No-No Boy, Miné Okubo‘s Citizen 13660 (1946), “the first illustrated memoir chronicling the camp experience.” But the book that had the most impact on me, personally and for my career was Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston‘s Farewell to Mazanar.  It describes the author’s childhood experiences at the Manzanar, located in the desert near Independence, CA and the hardships that her family endured.

At camp, Jeanne makes friends with a Japanese girl, whose adoptive parents are a Japanese man and his half-black wife, who was passing as Japanese to stay with her family. I was intrigued because I had thought that interracial marriage was illegal. I decided to look into it and uncovered some heartbreaking stories of families torn apart, mixed-race children in orphanage being ostracized, including Dennis Tojo Bambauer who didn’t know he was Japanese until the military took him to a Japanese orphanage. The orphans lived in the Children’s Village at Manzanar, though some were re-united with their families in camp.

There was even a case of a family incarcerated despite not being Japanese-American, because the husband had his Japanese-American stepfather’s surname. My class project became one of my long-term research interests. Over the last ten years, I have learned that there were several hundred mixed-race families in the camp, and have expanded my research to the history of mixed-race Japanese-Americans and their families in the U.S. and Japan, learning about some fascinating and important people such as Takamine Jokichi, in the early years of interracial marriage between Japan and the United States.

While reading Farewell to Manzanar, a classmate asked if we could go. To our delight, half of my class and I attended the 38th annual pilgrimage. We spent four and a half hours one way on the bus with former incarcerees. None of them had been in Manzanar, but it was the only location at the time that had a pilgrimage.

As we neared the camp, we were struck by the beauty of the flowers and mountains, which surrounded the site.


The surrounding mountains were a stark contrast to camp.

Mountains and Desert

There was little left, the remains of a block garden, a replica guard tower, a few signs, the original guardhouse, and the visitor’s center in the auditorium, which had been used by Inyo County as a road maintenance facility. The buildings had been torn apart right after the war, much of it re-used by local communities.

Guard Tower

Block Garden

Block Garden


The 38th pilgrimage was dedicated to Sue Kunitomi Embrey, who had worked to make Manzanar a National Historical Site, as she had died shortly after the 2006 pilgrimage. The ceremony began with a rendition of “Ue o muite” (Look Up), re-named for American audiences to “Sukiyaki” which had been a hit in the U.S. in 1963. This was followed by a process of flags bearing the camp names, speakers, and an interfaith service at the graveyard.

It was a haunting experience, to be surrounded by so many who had been sent to such desolate places simply because of their ancestry. Had I been born forty-five or more years earlier on the west coast, I would have been one of them. But, because of the racist, patriarchal attitudes, the Western Defense Command believed that children with non-Japanese fathers were culturally more American. Therefore, families with children like me, would not only have been allowed out of the camps, but been permitted to go home. But families with non-Japanese mothers, while permitted to leave the camps, could not go back to the restricted areas and had to find a new place to live. Nor were interracial couples without children permitted to leave. But this did not prevent such families from being sent to assembly centers. Despite noting that such families and children in care of non-Japanese foster parents were exempt from evacuation, this was not the case, as children living with white foster parents were also incarcerated. There was at least one exception, Ronald, Hirano, a Deaf boy who was temporarily adopted by an acquaintance and given special permission to stay to continue attending the California School for the Deaf. Other Deaf people and those with other disabilities were not as lucky.

In 2017, with the 25th anniversary of Manzanar becoming a National Historic Site, and the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the Manzanar National Historic Site began building recreations of everything from a classroom, barracks, basketball court, mess hall, and women’s latrine.


The incarcerees lived in hastily-built, tar paper shacks without proper heating or water. The camp was over 540 acres, surrounded by barbed wire. Inside were 67 blocks, including 36 residential, two staff housing, one administrative, two warehouse, one garage, and a military police, and a hospital.  Each residential block had 14 barracks, a mess hall, recreation hall, two bathhouses, a laundry and ironing room, and a heating oil storage tank.  Later, a Bank of America branch and Sears Roebuck cataloger store would be added.


The bathrooms offered no privacy and incarcerees had build their own partitions.




But the most gratifying for me were two new addition. The first was the Children’s Village, which is still under archaeological investigation. I had read Catherine Irwin’s Twice orphaned : voices from the Children’s Village of Manzanar several years earlier. Unfortunately it hadn’t been published when I was doing my undergraduate research. But it provided a lot of valuable information and showed how different the experiences were for the orphans than those who were incarcerated with their families.


The other was a replica of a classroom. This included information on children with disabilities, another of my research interests. I learned about the Helen Keller School at Tule Lake, a short-lived program for children with disabilities, a few years ago. I also found letters from Deaf and blind schools across the country offering to take children into their institutions. To my surprise, I found that camp newspapers had extensive coverage of “crippled children” with disabilities such as harelip, partial hearing and sight loss, paralysis due to polio, etc, as well as wounded soldiers. But this was the first time that I found any mention of special education programs in any exhibits and it was gratifying to see that it was finally being included.


Seeing the camp with these additions made it all the more heartbreaking. But I am grateful that more of this story is being told, to include those who have been overlooked.

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